Category Archives: Sports

DeMarco Murray’s departure might be too much for Dallas

Dallas may in fact be overtaken by Philadelphia this year, although I seriously doubt it. But if so, it wouldn’t be because of DeMarco Murray.

To begin with, there is no way that Murray is going to approach the almost 500 touches he had last year. Secondly, he may get hurt, especially following last year’s heavy work load. Lastly, Randle and McFadden will do just fine. They are both quality runners and good receivers out of the backfield. The reason Murray got all of those carries last year is that the Cowboys knew he was leaving, so they rode him as long as they could. 

Only time will tell, but I believe that Dallas will win the Super Bowl this season. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

FILE - In this Aug. 20, 2015, file photo, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes the ball during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions in Landover, Md. The Washington Redskins have made a quarterback change: Kirk Cousins will be the starter this season, not Robert Griffin III. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When DeMarco Murray traded the blue star on his helmet for silver and white wings, the balance of power in the NFC East shifted from the Dallas Cowboys to the Philadelphia Eagles.

That might be the difference in a division that’s had four different champions in the past four years.

Last season, Murray helped the Cowboys end a string of mediocre seasons with a record-setting performance that catapulted Dallas to 12 wins and its first division crown in five years.

But the All-Pro running back got a better free-agent offer from Philadelphia, where Chip Kelly overhauled the roster following a 10-win season that wasn’t good enough for a playoff spot.

Murray is one of five new starters on an offense that has thrived since Kelly’s arrival in 2013. He joins new quarterback and former college roommate Sam Bradford, who looked sharp in limited preseason action.

While the Cowboys still have Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and perhaps the best offensive line in the league, they’ll miss Murray’s franchise-record 1,845 yards rushing.

“We don’t say let’s take this player over that player because it’s going to make that team weaker,” Kelly said. “I know Dallas is going to be a tough opponent when we play them this year.”

Murray doesn’t have to be a workhorse in Philadelphia. The Eagles also signed former Pro Bowl back Ryan Mathews and they have Darren Sproles.

Dallas is counting on Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle to replace Murray’s 497 carries.

“I think we’ll be just fine,” Randle said.

The Cowboys are aiming to become the first repeat champions in the East since the Eagles won four titles in a row from 2001-04.

The New York Giants and Washington Redskins won’t be a threat to knock them off.

Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and the offense will score points, but defense is the big question for New York. The Redskins are a daily soap opera making headlines for the wrong reasons.

Here are a few things to know about the NFC East:

CHIP’S IN CHARGE: Kelly gained control of personnel moves and made drastic changes. Gone are LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles, Jeremy Maclin, Evan Mathis, Todd Herremans, Trent Cole, Cary Williams and other players who helped the Eagles win 20 games in Kelly’s first two seasons. Bradford came over from St. Louis and appears healthy after two ACL operations on the same knee forced him to miss the past 25 games. He led the offense to a touchdown in each of his four series in two preseason games.

The biggest improvement for Philadelphia is the defense. Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond bolster a secondary that was awful the past two seasons, and Kiko Alonso fortifies a solid front seven.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: Murray’s success last season wasn’t the only reason the Cowboys beat out Philadelphia in the standings. A vastly improved defense led by coordinator Rod Marinelli was a major factor. The addition of DE Greg Hardy should help once he’s reinstated after serving a four-game suspension. And linebacker Sean Lee is back from a knee injury. But cornerback Orlando Scandrick (knee) is lost for the season, and linebacker Rolando McClain is suspended for four games. With Murray gone, the offense might have to rely more on Romo’s arm. The 35-year-old QB still seems capable of carrying the load. He bounced back from back surgery and had an outstanding season in 2014, and now seems healthier than he’s been in years.

SPAGS RETURNS: The most important offseason move the Giants made was hiring defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who was in charge when Big Blue beat Tom Brady and the undefeated Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl. Spagnuolo has a tough task ahead with a depleted unit. End Jason Pierre-Paul’s status is uncertain, LB Jon Beason is injured again, and safeties Bennett Jackson, Mykkele Thompson and Justin Currie were lost for the season. Manning and Co. might have to win shootouts if the defense doesn’t improve drastically. Rueben Randle filled in nicely after Victor Cruz was injured to give Manning a formidable 1-2 punch at wideout.

IN KIRK THEY TRUST: Kirk Cousins beat out Robert Griffin III for the starting QB job, a move that could signal the end of RG3’s tumultuous tenure in Washington. The 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year has been plagued by injuries since leading the Redskins to a division title and tearing knee ligaments in a playoff loss in January 2013. Cousins is 2-7 as a starter in three seasons playing behind Griffin. He’ll probably throw a lot to DeSean Jackson and hand off even more to Alfred Morris. The Redskins lost tight ends Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen for the season. The defense also suffered blows in the preseason with season-ending injuries to linebackers Junior Galette and Adam Hayward.

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Redskins.


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Fantasy Football…

Yesterday I participated in my first draft of the 2015 fantasy football season. One of three leagues that I will compete in. This particular league, GhostRider and Friends, is actually my favorite. This year for the first time it has 10-teams, in lieu of the customary 8-teams. It is an NFL Fantasy, 1-point PPR league. My roster is below; by the way, I drafted 9th. Let me know what you think of my team:

QBs – Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler

RBs – Matt Forte, Mark Ingram, Arian Foster, Chris Ivory, Danny Woodhead

WRs – Dez Bryant, Brandin Cooks, Brandon Marshall, Keenan Allen, Eddie Royal

TEs – Antonio Gates, Owen Daniels

DST – Houston

K – Connor Barth

I already have a couple of changes in mind. How does this team compare to yours? TGO



Anti-doping report: Riis knew about drugs on cycling team

What a shame that professional cycling is such a tainted sport. My disillusion with the sport began when my favorite rider, Jan Ullrich, tested positive for doping. At that point I knew that Lance Armstrong was also doping, although it was years before the story got out. Now, a decade later, and still there are stories of rampant doping within the sport. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A report by Denmark’s anti-doping agency says Bjarne Riis chose to ignore drug-taking by riders on the former Team CSC.

Michael Ask, head of Anti-Doping Denmark, says Riis, then manager of the team, “failed to intervene,” and “it is totally unacceptable.”

Senior Team CSC members Johnny Weltz and Alex Pedersen also were aware of the practices, according to the 97-page report published on Tuesday. It was based on 50 interviews with present and former riders, aides, and officials, including disgraced Danish rider Michael Rasmussen.

Rasmussen was leading the 2007 Tour de France when he was sacked by his team for lying about his whereabouts when he missed pre-race doping tests. In 2013, he admitted he doped for more than a decade.

Riis revealed in 2007 that he used blood-boosting EPO to win the Tour in 1996. He later managed CSC, which eventually became Team Tinkoff-Saxo.

The report said Riis gave the telephone number of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes to Tyler Hamilton, telling the American rider, “Fuentes is the best in the business, with blood doping he is the doctor to go to.”

Andi-Doping Denmark said it did not interview Fuentes, who was convicted in 2013 of endangering public health in the Operation Puerto doping case but received a suspended sentence.

Rasmussen, who was interviewed for two days in January 2013, said he “experienced a widespread use of banned cortisone” on Team CSC with the acceptance of its leaders and doctors. He said teammate Hamilton also received cortisone.

Another Danish rider, Nicki Sorensen, who has become Tinkoff-Saxo’s sport director, admitted to doping, according to the report.

The report said the interviews were conducted by telephone or email with people involved in cycling since 1998.

Floyd Mayweather beats Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision

This fight was a joke, as all these hyped-up fights are. I saw the entire thing from the first bell and all that Mayweather did was retreat. Pacquiao was without question the aggressor, and he landed some good punches. How Mayweather won by unanimous decision is beyond me. And mind you, I really didn’t care who won (I just wanted to see a good fight) so it isn’t as if I’m biased.

Boxing is doomed. These guaranteed purses have destroyed the sport. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Yahoo Sports

Pacquiao of the Philippines fights Mayweather, Jr. of the U.S. in the seventh round during their welterweight title fight in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – The identity of the best fighter of this generation was never really in doubt.

Oh, some wanted to contest Floyd Mayweather’s position as the best boxer of his time and made points of varying strength about the quality of his opposition, the timing of some of his bigger fights and what was perceived as an unwillingness to engage.

Mayweather, though, erased whatever little doubt that remained with an unquestionable victory over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden in a match which was as much about the incredible sums of money it generated as it was about the talent of the fighters.

Judge Dave Moretti had it 10 rounds to two, or 118-110 for Mayweather. Judges Glenn Feldman and Burt Clements each saw it 116-112, giving Mayweather eight of the 12 rounds. Yahoo Sports had it 115-113 for Mayweather.

“He’s a tough competitor,” Mayweather said of his vanquished foe.

Two months after his 38th birthday, Mayweather turned back the man whom fans have clamored for him to fight for more than five years.

The crowd pulled passionately for the Filipino superstar, who rose from abject poverty to become a politician, a musician and one of the best boxers in the world. Every time he landed, they roared. His best shot came in the fourth when he rocked Mayweather, but he had trouble getting past the jab or penetrating Mayweather’s defense.

On this night, though, he was no match for Mayweather, who improved his record to 48-0 with perhaps the most significant victory of his professional career.

“I thought I caught him many more times than he caught me,” Pacquiao said. “I was never hurt. I was very surprised by the scores. I thought I hit him much more than he hit me.”

With one fight remaining on the contract he signed with CBS/Showtime in early 2013, Mayweather has the opportunity to match the 49-0 record of former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano. He said he’d retire after a fight in September.

On Saturday, facing the rival he’d been accused for years of ducking, Mayweather showed his class by cleanly outboxing Pacquiao and winning a unanimous decision. The reach advantage was clear between them and Mayweather popped Pacquiao repeatedly with his jab.

He did it the way he has for the past 19 years, using speed, quickness, impeccable timing, punching accuracy and most of all an incredible ring awareness to throttle his smaller rival.

Pacquiao landed just 81 of 429 punches, a puny 18.9 percent and around the average connect percentage against Mayweather. Mayweather landed nearly twice as many shots, connecting at 34 percent while landing 148 of 435.

There has always been controversy swirling around Mayweather and the days ahead of the Pacquiao fight were no exception. Because of the nature of the match, the interest in the fight was far great and so, too, was the media scrutiny.

His history of domestic violence, which he’d hoped would have been overlooked after his 2012 release from the Clark County, Nev., Detention Center, became a theme of much of the pre-fight coverage.

There were groups protesting outside the arena both on Friday after the weigh-in and on Saturday before the bout. A dispute arose early Saturday when two reporters, Rachel Nichols of CNN and Michelle Beadle of ESPN and HBO, tweeted that they were denied credentials. Both women have covered the domestic violence angle aggressively. Promoters vehemently denied that allegation.

But Mayweather, as he always has been in the boxing ring, was implacable. If any of it weighed on him, it was impossible to tell by looking at him and even more difficult to discern by watching him box.

And so, this era will officially and forever be “The Mayweather Era” – one he dominated not so much with power and knockouts but rather with defensive excellence and marketing brilliance.

He began his career as a highly touted bronze medal winner from the 1996 U.S. Olympic team known as “Pretty Boy” Floyd. He ended it as the trash-talking, bejeweled multi-millionaire who set a new standard for how athletes should handle their careers.

He’s outraged fans, particularly the old-timers, by calling himself “The Best Ever.” And while that’s a gross overstatement and ignoring the greatness of Sugar Ray Robinson and a number of other fighters, a large part of it is marketing shtick to call attention to himself.

But while there is a debate about where he deserves to rank on the all-time list – a panel commissioned by Yahoo Sports ranked him 19th last week, before the fight – there is no doubt that he is the best of his time.

And at the end of the day, that is all that can be asked for a boxer.

So maybe Mayweather is TBE: Just make it The Best of the Era and we can all live with that.

‘Fight of the century’ ready to rumble

Hopefully this fight won’t be a dud as many of the hyped-up boxing matches have turned out to be over the years.

Personally, I hope Pacquiao wins. Mayweather seems to be too much of a thug to me. Although I’m sure the Filipino is no saint either. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press



Years of debate and months of hype will reach a climax Saturday when Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather step into the ring in Las Vegas for the most eagerly anticipated boxing match in recent memory.

The long-awaited bout, which has been more than five years in the making, has transcended the traditional boxing scene, catapulting the sport back into the public consciousness and promising to rewrite the record books as the most lucrative fight of all time.

“Sin City” was buzzing ahead of the welterweight world title showdown and the money men were rubbing their hands: total revenue for the bout could reach an eye-watering $400 million, fueled by as many as three million pay-per-view purchases.

The breathtaking figures — a possible $200 million payday for the unbeaten American and an estimated $100 million bonanza for Philippine icon Pacquiao — have intensified the spotlight on a fight between two of the greatest pugilists of their generation.

As a taster for the main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, a raucous crowd of 11,500 turned out for Friday’s weigh-in, as Pacquiao and Mayweather went nose-to-nose.

The few tickets that did go on sale for the bout itself were reportedly snapped up in one minute, with A-listers and high-rollers making up the vast majority of a 16,800 sell-out crowd, making the fight more akin to a nightout at the Oscars than two men attempting to pound the other to the canvas.

In Las Vegas, tourism officials said occupancy for the city’s 150,000 hotel rooms would approach 100 percent. Casinos were advertising red-carpet events hosted by hip-hop stars such as Puff Daddy and Snoop Dogg and pop star Justin Bieber — a Mayweather fan and friend.

– Clash of styles –

And then there is the small issue of the fight itself, which even if it doesn’t measure up to Mayweather’s claim of the “biggest fight in boxing history,” is an intriguing clash of styles between men of contrasting personalities.

Pacquiao, 36, a two-term congressman with a music and film career, credits the grace of God for lifting him from poverty in his youth and later guiding him away from a life of excess that his ring success made possible.

Streets will be empty on fight night — Sunday morning in the Philippines — as the nation of 100 million cheers its “National Fist.” Guns often fall silent in the war-torn south of the country when the beloved Pacquiao is in action.

The brash Mayweather touts his status as a money-making machine and comes from a troubled past that includes jail time for one of a string of domestic violence incidents.

Mayweather, 47-0 with 26 knockouts, is a 2-1 favorite to add Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization world title to his own World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council belts.

Public opinion is with Pacquiao; boxing experts say Mayweather to triumph, most likely by 12-round decision.

– ‘I’m ready’ –

Pacquiao, who weighed in a pound lighter, will be in the unenviable position of the smaller fighter, taking more of the risks.

The aggressive southpaw, who owns a record of 57-5-2 with 38 knockouts, says he is content in his underdog role.

A winner of world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, Pacquiao noted that he’s beaten plenty of big foes, among them Oscar De La Hoya in 2008.

“No one thought I could beat Oscar, and I was the underdog then,” said Pacquiao, who moved up 12 pounds in weight to batter the “Golden Boy” in a fight that sent him into retirement. “Maybe it’s good for me.”

Once each had stepped off the scale on Friday, Mayweather and Pacquiao came eye-to-eye for a stare down — just their third face-to-face meeting since the bout was announced in February.

Their next will come Saturday night, when they step into the ring.

“I’ve dedicated myself to the sport of boxing for more than 20 years,” Mayweather said. “I’m ready.”


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